Flying Over Greenland, Again

Again?  Yes, we did this just a few years ago (click here to go there),

also on a United flight, as it happens, and also driven unusually far north by winds aloft.

We will do this 1 hour flight in 3 parts:

  1. This page will take us from the eastern shore onto the ice sheet.
  2. The next page will take us over the ice sheet.
  3. The third and last page will take us to the western shore.

From Paris west we met an overcast sky just before reaching the Atlantic.  From there on to the northwest, there was only a small break in the clouds below us around the northernmost islands of  Scotland.

Iceland was completely obscured.

Then the overcast broke again, abruptly, at Greenland's eastern shore.  

It was clear over the entire portion of the country that crossed from east to west.  Then it was overcast again, with no breaks until we entered Washington state!  

It was an unusual route because of high-level winds but with this route we managed to keep a tail wind coming behind us until we finally turned south toward San Franciso!  We met some fierce headwinds coming southwest, but only over a short distance.  Our flight arrived early!

I had been watching the shadow of our contrail on the clouds below us for some time.  It was rather monotonous.  Then suddenly the clouds thinned and in the wispier clouds I saw the halo where sunlight was bent around our aircraft at the head of the contrail!

And below that aura?  Either Greenland or islands off its eastern coast!

Soon I was seeing a breakup of that cloud layer that had been below us essentially all the way from Europe.

As we came over land, clouds thickened again and I thought it was going to be overcast again:

But instead there was a thiining of the clouds directly below us:

And soon we were essentially "in the clear" over floating ice and icebergs galore!

When I saw what looked like fjords that terminated where glaciers flowed to the sea, I knew we were approaching the ice sheet:

We were well positioned to follow one of these very long glaciers all the way onto the ice sheet from which it was flowing.  For example, look at the ice in this water:

Now look at its source, glaciers flowing through valleys coming down to sea-level:

There was one pocket of ice flowing into a steep canyon that had 'blue ice' (maybe the next 4 photos will convince you that I saw blue, but also look at the structure in the ice as it cracks and flows downward, and notice the large long glacier toward the top of the photo):

I see blue ice in these photos, hope you did too.  After this set of little, steep glaciers, we on the estern edge of the ice sheet:

On the next page we will follow this glacier to the west until it is no longer discernable in the ice sheet that feeds it:

We are doing this 1 hour flight in 3 parts:

  1. This page took us from the eastern shore onto the ice sheet.

  2. The next page will take us over the ice sheet.

  3. The third and last page will take us to the western shore.

    And this link takes you back to my previous pages on Greenland from the air.

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